It’s hard to know what to write about today. There is so much happening in the news that interests me and concerns me, not to mention everything that is happening in my home (three dogs!) and everything that is happening with my business (productive networking!). I feel like I’m in the middle of a maelstrom (whirlwind), winds whipping by me, sand scratching my face, frozen in the eye while I watch my life and world churn with turmoil.
So today I’ll write about peace, simply because I hope writing about it will bring it to me.
I’m closing my eyes and trying to remember a place that brought me peace. It’s hard. I haven’t been able to find it lately; my morning workout routine has been put on hold because there is a dog kennel in my living room where my workout used to take place, so no peace from there. There’s a plethora of sources of anguish, angst, anger, nervousness, disturbance, frustration, guilt, obligation…but peace. That is a rare commodity in my memory right now.
I’m trying again, closing my eyes and searching for that peace; then I remember my inner sanctuary, a scene I built years ago when I was doing regular guided imagery meditations. It’s a beautiful spot, a hot springs pool on a plateau at the top of a high cliff overlooking mountains and a beautiful glittering river. There is one huge tree, something like an oak, where I lean my back. The tree is warm, not cool; a friend that supports me. There is usually deep, thick, soft green grass that I can run my fingers through, run my palms over.
It’s always summer and usually sunset in this spot. Sometimes I sit in the hot springs and listen to the water spill over the edge of the cliff in a water fall while I watch golden light gild the valley, then watch it turn to orange, red, pink…but it never sets because it is frozen in beauty, in the kind of evening light that is my favourite and makes me feel warm and happy inside.
And sometimes, I walk away from the amazing scene back into a forest and find a small house there with beautiful old creaking wooden floors, a huge Buddha statue in the corner and one wall made of windows. There are always candles burning and fragrant flower petals decorate the floor and the statue. Sometimes I sit here and contemplate the laughing Buddha or the silence or the smell of the old dusty wooden floor or perhaps the autumn wind blowing leaves around outside–because it seems to be autumn a lot in this spot. But here in this house I know that I can find peace, too, not because I am a Buddhist, but simply because the statue, the candles, the rose petals and the whole place provide me with a sanctuary, a space that is quite where no one else can come. This meditation house and the meadow overlooking the mountains and river valley…these are my inner sanctuaries that are never sullied by the presence of others. No one else’s wants, desires, expectations can get in. I can leave the real world outside and find peace and the permission to be myself here, and sometimes that is really, really necessary.
The only problem with going inside is that it is hard to want to come out and rejoin the ‘real’ world again. I often see the appeal of becoming a monk or a hermit, shielded from the busy-ness and the turmoil of city life, of everyday life as a ‘functioning part of society.’ I would much rather exist outside of the busy unhappy society that makes up North America; I’d prefer instead to lead a simple life where I can find happiness in simple existence, a Thoreau-style existence marked simply by the changing of seasons and of my inner landscape.
But here I am in the midst of society, unable to leave it because of the choices I’ve made. And I’m happy with those choices, most days. But there are always those wild days where the wild woman inside of me yearns for the wild spaces I came from, the ones I left behind and the ones that now live inside of me.
For now I will fill that yearning with my imagination, travelling in my mind to the wild spaces that fill me with peace. For the future, I will work to find a physical space where I can find that same peace.
Where is your peace? How do you find it? How do you feel it?